The 1970s and today | Back to balance

The 1970s. The years of self-development. The time when optimism and idealism take the lead. The wishes of the 60s would all finally be fulfilled. A less elitist society, attention to nature and the environment, a property-free society, and an economy where we could share everything with each other. These were groundbreaking developments back then, but still relevant today. After an uncertain time, we are once again looking for the right balance between our hectic social lives and finding peace. We dive back into nature and seek new hobbies. In this blog, we talk about how the 1970s is an inspiration source for fashion, interior design, slow living and nature in our lives.  

A time of change  

The 1970s was a time of profound social change and turbulent events - it was a decade with many faces. The damage from World War II had largely been repaired again. After a long period of uncertainty, society seemed to be slowly getting back on its feet. However, this was not without setbacks; the late 1960s and early 1970s saw a shift in society. 

Mass production created an abundance of consumer goods, but also led to the loss of craftsmanship and individuality. People began to become increasingly aware of the negative impact of mass production on the environment. There was a realisation that continued economic growth and material prosperity did not necessarily lead to greater satisfaction and a happier life. This created a sharing society, in which assets became less important.


The oil crisis in 1973 also left its mark. This crisis in the global economy made people think about saving energy and using alternative sources of energy. It made people realise that our natural resources are not infinite and that we need to be more careful of our planet.  

These social and economic changes caused a shift in people's values and lifestyles. There was a growing need for a new balance in life, focusing on restoring harmony between people and nature. People longed for a deeper connection with themselves, each other and the world around them. People realised that valuable experiences and meaningful connections were more important than materialistic possessions.  

Interior design and fashion 

This shift in social mindset became also visible in interior design and fashion in the 1970s. In terms of interiors and design, calming and organic shapes were trending. Natural materials such as wood, wicker and rattan were widely used in furniture and decoration. Colours in this period were mainly earthy, natural colours. Think brown, green, orange and yellow shades. 

Also, fashion was highly influenced within this shift. People preferred to wear natural clothes. Fabrics such as cotton, linen and wool were popular because they were comfortable to wear. Clothing had loose and casual shapes, so you could move freely. For example, long dresses with wide sleeves or trousers with flared legs. In fashion, colours were also earthy: brown, green, orange and yellow. But bright colours like red, purple and blue were common as well. Floral prints, fringes, lace, embroidery and crochet details were common on garments from that era to create a bohemian and artisanal feel. Fashion in the 1970s was relaxed, colourful and full of expression.   

Slow living and balance 

At the time, the way of life was gradually being looked at differently. After the rapid social changes of the 1960s, there was a need for more stability and balance in the everyday life. This period also marks the birth of the slow living movement, which had its origins in slow food; Carlo Petrini founded the Slow Food Movement as a reaction against the rise of fast food and mass consumption. Its aim was to foster appreciation for traditional cuisines and local ingredients. Slow food eventually became much more than a culinary movement. It was about awareness, sustainability and the desire for a slower and more meaningful life. This philosophy spread to other aspects of daily life, such as travel, living and working. Slow food eventually became a global slow living movement.  

The slow living movement inspired people around the world to live consciously and strive for a lifestyle that was more in harmony with themselves, others and nature. Consequently, the idea of slow living gained immense popularity. Here, people consciously slowed down their hectic lifestyles. People took time to enjoy the moment, relax and connect with nature. People sought a simpler and more fulfilling life, with less focus on material possessions and more on experience. They began to see the value of experiences over possessions and cherished moments of rest and reflection. This translated to the way they spent their leisure time, with a greater emphasis on outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping and gardening. People began to appreciate traditional crafts again, such as weaving, woodworking and ceramics. This craft rediscovery became countermovement to mass production. 

The 1970s and today's world 

Even today, as in the 1970s, we live in a world full of challenges. We face global challenges such as climate change, polarisation, rapid technological developments and social inequality. We are also becoming increasingly aware of the limit of natural resources and, as a result, recognise the importance of living more sustainably. This realisation has led to a renewed interest in natural materials, organic food, eco-friendly products and a general focus on sustainability.  

Also, the speed and pace of modern life creates a greater need for moments of rest and reflection. We want to escape the constant flow of (digital) stimuli and the pressure to always be productive and available. We long for nature and more connection with ourselves; more slow living. Just like in the 1970s.   

This social upheaval is once again creating a renewed need for balance. The way a new form of balance was found in the 1970s is especially relevant today. For example, in interior design and fashion industries, we see renewed use of natural materials, organic shapes, and earthy colours. There is a desire for simplicity, minimalism, and a sense of harmony in our living spaces. In fashion, second-hand items, mostly with the style of the 1970s, are incredibly popular again. Vintage clothing shops can now be found in every shopping centre. Flared trousers, too, have become part of the street scene. Or dresses with a cheerful print, such as flowers or animals. These are trends that have come back from the 1970s and continue to inspire us. 

After past years of turmoil, crisis, and pandemics, the need to live slower - the slow living feeling - is stronger than ever. You can see that the way they learned to slow down in the 1970s clearly serves as inspiration for regaining balance in our contemporary lives. Once we have created this balance, the feeling of harmony will soon follow.